Grace Paley, an iconic and idiosyncratic American literary voice, died Wednesday. She was 84, and had battled breast cancer. Paley wrote short stories and poems, and much of her writing was inspired by the people she knew growing up in New York, the daughter of Russian Jews. Her first collection of stories, The Little Disturbances of Man: Stories of Men and Women at Love, was published in 1959. Her other collections included Enormous Changes at the Last Minute and Later in the Same Day.
Writer Kurt Vonnegut died Wednesday at the age of 84. His most famous book was the anti-war novel Slaughterhouse-Five; based on Vonnegut's own experiences in World War II, the book became a cultural touchstone at the height of popular protest against the war in Vietnam. In this archived interview, he talks to Terry Gross about writing, censorship, and the experience of war. Rebroadcast from May 13, 1986
We remember Quentin Crisp, who died last Sunday at the age of 90. Crisp became a cult figure after the publication of his autobiography, The Naked Civil Servant. He came out of the closet in his native London in 1931, when homosexuality was very clandestine. His flamboyant and exhibitionist style often made him the object of ridicule and violence. Crisp moved to New York at the age of 72. (Rebroadcast from 1/21/1986)
We remember crime novelist George V. Higgins. He was found dead at his home on Saturday, apparently of natural causes. He was 59. He was best known for his best seller, "Friends of Eddie Coyle," published in 1972. (REBROADCAST from 9/30/1986)